Acquisitive crime can have a long-lasting impact on the communities we serve, in particular the victims who are targeted.
As well as being area commander for the Moray area, it is also my responsibility to ensure that North East Division has robust tactics in place to tackle criminals who prey on law-abiding members of the public. This includes conducting regular performance reviews and ensuring that we are working effectively with our partners and communities to keep them safe.
Although governance is important, I truly believe that there is a very simple concept at the heart of tackling acquisitive crime – and it is something that we can all practice. ‘Prevention’ is absolutely key, and given that most housebreakings in particular are carried out by opportunist thieves, by taking away the opportunity and keeping your home and possessions safe, they shouldn’t stand a chance.
First and foremost, lock the door. Obvious isn’t it? But some people don’t do it. Keep the door locked when you are at home as well to stop people coming in if you are in another part of the house or garden
Keep your keys out of sight. Don’t leave them on the inside of locks or just inside the door. If you have a spare key, don’t leave it under a mat, plant-pot or other easy to spot place at home. Never keep house keys and car keys on the same ring
Away from home? Use timers on lights and radios so that it seems like there’s someone in. If you are going on holiday, avoid announcing this publicly on social media as criminals can search for this information to create a list of empty houses. Cancel milk and newspapers if you go away for any length of time and ask a friend, family member or neighbour to come over a couple of times a week to move your post if you have a glass door
Show people that your property is secure. Thieves are put off by visible security alarms and carefully directed security lighting
Similar simple measures should also be taken to protect your shed, garage or vehicle – visit the Police Scotland website for more tips
Lastly, if the worst does happen and you have your possessions stolen, make sure that you have adequate insurance which will cover your loss.
Prevention is also crucial when it comes to protecting yourself from opportunistic fraudsters operating online, or by phone or text. NEVER give out login details, no matter how genuine you think the request is. Be wary of the information you are giving out on social networking sites and do not include your birth date or address in your email address.
When you are finished with personal or financial documents, shred them before you throw them out, and be wary of cold calls – if in doubt, just hang up and never give out personal or financial information if you are unsure who you are dealing with. Banks will never ask for your account details over the phone.
Finally, and now that school is out for summer, I would like to wish you all a very happy holiday. It has been an odd time and your summer plans may not be as you had hoped, however I hope you can enjoy your time off safely with family and friends.
I would also urge parents and guardians to keep an eye on what young people are up to if they are out and about. Sadly, at this time of year we often record an increase in anti-social behaviour and vandalisms therefore you might want to discuss with them what is and isn’t acceptable behaviour, stressing that police will take a robust approach towards anyone found to be responsible for such a crime.
We are well aware that the vast majority of young people go out with the sole aim of having fun, but if having that conversation can avoid needless crimes, it will mean safer communities for us all.